Bee champ h-u-m-b-l-e

Gary Tomlin/GateHouse News Service
Tyler Natof, from ROWVA Junior High School, spells the word strudel correctly to win the Knox County Spelling Bee as other contestants sit to the side on Saturday at Sandburg Mall in Galesburg.

The best spellers from 14 schools met in heads-up competition Saturday at the Knox County Spelling Bee at Sandburg Mall in Galesburg.

Tyler Natof from ROWVA Junior High School took top honors.

“I’ve always loved to read and write and that builds a big vocabulary,” he said after the match. “I wouldn’t be here if Mrs. Holt and Mrs. Gibbons didn’t do the school bee. If my parents hadn’t helped me, I wouldn’t have succeeded.”

Natof was the runner-up in his school bee last year. This is the first time he made the county-wide competition.

Two other ROWVA students, Jackson Stanley of ROWVA Central and Jacob Varner of ROWVA East, also participated in the contest.

“All of the other people who competed are winners. They won their school bees,” Natof said. “I encourage them to not give up and come back next year. If you win, be humble. You will not do it by yourself.”